Florida politicians are ramping up their efforts to snag a place in the state Cabinet, with both Republicans and Democrats steadily fundraising during the month of October.
Here’s how Cabinet hopefuls fared in committee fundraising numbers from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31.
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis raised six figures in October through his political committee, Treasure Florida, to keep his Cabinet post for another four years.
Patronis raked in $431,000 through Treasure Florida, with the largest donation ($50,000) coming from the Florida Jobs PAC. Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense also donated $25,000 to the committee. Gulf Power was another top donor to the committee, pitching in $25,000 for Patronis’ reelection bid.
Patronis announced he would seek a full, four-year term to the job earlier this month. He replaced former CFO Jeff Atwater, who had served in the Florida Cabinet since 2010.
Patronis was tapped to the job by Gov. Rick Scott this June and many speculated he would make a run for the job once his shortened term was up.
“I get up every day excited to do this job. I love what I do,” Patronis recently wrote in a letter to supporters.
Patronis spent significantly less money than he raised in October ($2,000) leaving his committee with $643,000 cash on hand.
Patronis isn’t the only one with his eye on the CFO seat. Brandon Sen. Tom Lee has also been rumored to be mulling over a bid for the job for quite some time, and he’s currently heavy in the fundraising game should he decide to jump in the race.
During the month of October, Lee brought in $211,000 through his The Conservative political committee. The top donation -- $36,000 -- came from Christian Finance Resources, a Lake Mary-based nonprofit organization which helps out Christian churches and ministries.
The next-largest donation ($35,000) came from the Sunshine State Freedom Fund, which is connected to Alachua County Republican Party chairman Stafford Jones.
Lee’s committee spent about $7,800, leaving Lee with $2.28 million cash on hand, a number much higher than his potential competitors.
Former Florida state Sen. Jeremy Ring is currently the only Democrat in the running for Florida CFO.
Ring’s political committee, Florida Action Fund, brought in $35,000 in October, with the largest donation coming from Gemini Financial, which gave $10,000 to his campaign.
Florida Action Fund spent about $14,000 last month and ended October with $135,000 cash on hand.
Former Tampa Bay judge and Republican Ashley Moody has undoubtedly received the widest support in her bid to become Florida’s Attorney General in 2018 and she currently leads the pack in the money chase in a two-way contest for the Republican nomination.
Last month, Moody raised $43,000 through her Friends of Ashley Moody political committee, with $15,000 of that cash coming from Citizens Alliance’s Florida PAC. The committee received another $10,000 from Automated Healthcare Solutions and beverage company Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.
Moody’s committee only spent $507 in October, leaving her with $207,000 cash on hand.
State Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, didn’t have a particularly profitable month in October.
Fant raised no money through his political committee, Pledge This Day, but spent nearly $17,000 last month, sending his committee into the red for October.
Fant ended last month with $37,000 cash on hand.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner
Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, formally announced his campaign for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in May and has been the top dog in the money game for the Cabinet job.
Last month, Caldwell raised $66,000 via his Friends of Matt Caldwell political committee. The largest donation of $25,000 came from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed Caldwell for other political posts in the past.
Caldwell spent around $30,000 last month, leaving his committee with $662,000 cash on hand.
Republican state Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, is running a close race with Caldwell for the Republican nomination for Ag Commissioner.
Last month, Grimsley raised $47,000 through her Saving Florida’s Heartland political committee. Like Caldwell, the largest donation came -- also $25,000 -- came from the Florida Chamber.
Grimsley spent nearly all that money last month, however. Her committee reported $41,000 in expenditures and she finished out the month with $445,000 cash on hand.
For the second month in a row, former state Rep. Baxter Troutman didn’t raise any money through his iGrow political committee, but he still remains the leader in the money game among the GOP candidates running for Ag Commissioner.
Though his political committee only has $51,000 cash on hand, Troutman has $2.56 million overall on hand as of Oct. 31.
Troutman self-funded most of that money, putting $2.5 million of his own cash into his personal campaign account in June.